Scientific Name:
Sporobolus africanus (Poir.) A.Robyns & Tournay (1955)
  • Agrostis africana Poir. (1810)
  • = Agrostis capensis Willd., Sp. Pl., ed. 4 [Willdenow] 1(2), 372 (1798)
  • = Vilfa capensis P.Beauv., Ess. Agrostogr. 16, 147, 181 (1812)
  • Sporobolus capensis (P.Beauv.) Kunth, Enum. Pl. (Kunth) 212 (1833)
Vernacular Name(s):
Parramatta grass; ratstail; Rat's-tail

Stiff, perennial tufts, 20–80 cm, with convolute or flat leaves overtopped by narrow, olive-green spiciform panicles; branching intravaginal. Leaf-sheath very light green to creamy brown, subcoriaceous or somewhat chartaceous, glabrous, margins often short-ciliate below ligule. Ligule 0.2–0.5 mm. Collar hairs to 1 mm. Leaf-blade 10–25 cm × 0.8–2 mm diam., inrolled, or flat and up to 5 mm wide, abaxially glabrous, adaxially scabrid on ribs; margins finely scabrid, long-tapered to fine tip. Culm 15–50 cm, internodes glabrous. Panicle 8.5–22 cm × 4–8 mm, ± continuous but with some ± distant, appressed branches, up to 2 cm, near base; rachis ± smooth, branches sparsely scabrid, bearing densely crowded spikelets. Spikelets 2.2–3 mm, leaden green. Glumes unequal, < lemma; lower 0.7–1 mm, nerveless, elliptic, obtuse, upper 1.4–1.7 mm, 1-nerved, lanceolate, subacute. Lemma = spikelet, faintly 3-nerved, ovate-elliptic, acute. Palea ≤ lemma, apex narrowly truncate. Stamens 3; anthers 0.7–1.2 mm, often purplish. Caryopsis 1–1.3 × 0.6–0.7 mm, ellipsoid, truncate.

[From: Edgar and Connor (2000) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 5 (second printing).]

Edgar, E.; Connor, H.E. 2010: Flora of New Zealand Volume V Grasses. Edition 2. Manaaki Whenua Press.
Kunth, K.S. 1833: Enumeratio Plantarum Omnium Hucusque Cognitarum, Secundum Familias Naturales Disposita, Adjectis Characteribus, Differntiis et Synonymis. Vol. 1. J.G. Cottae, Stuttgart and Tübingen.
Palisot de Beauvois, A.M.F.J. 1812: Essai d'une Nouvelle Agrostographie. Paris.
Willdenow, C.L. von 1798: Species Plantarum. Vol. 1(2). Edition 4. G.C. Nauk, Berlin.